Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Taking Sides

I have slowly been drawn into various gardening, native plant, and insect groups on Facebook. Some of them are run by Native Nazis, but most are monitored by people who just want to spread environmental knowledge.

One woman had started a native planting under her mailbox.  She was proud of the plants coming up even though it was sparse.  While she was gone one day, her neighbor mowed the area and mowed all the plants down!  She went to him and was pretty angry and so was he.

My first reaction was that this was just a kind gesture by the neighbor and that he accidentally mowed down what he thought were weeds while doing a neighborly gesture.  I suggested that she try and calm the waters (you don't want a war with someone next door) and tell him about the virtues of natives and offer to help him plant some.  If he was still angry, then avoid him.

Everyone else on the list said that he was an idiot, deserved what she did, and even some said she should call the police for trespassing.  ( I am sure the police have plenty to do with 50 gun deaths alone in the U.S. over the 4th of July weekend.)

A few were wise in telling her to put around some boulders for a border edging or a small fence and also a sign telling people what they were.

I guess my question to my readers is am I a pansy?  Was my advice wrong?  Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Dagnabbit! It wasn't a Rabbit!

My prior post was done without too much enthusiasm. Exhausted from the trip and proud of myself for actually taking it during the "wane" of the pandemic.  YES...that must have been a kangaroo and not a rabbit, and I am thankful for discerning readers.  It was hot and I was tired and when I visited the flower show website I was sad to see that while we visited most of the campus, we missed a bunch of stuff!  Oh well.

Still wearing masks here, although most of the stores now have signs that say if you are vaccinated, the mask-wearing is optional.  I wear them much of the time, but this heat does make me less careful.  Also WHO said even vaccinated people should wear masks and distance with the new DELTA variant running rampant across the globe.  I am reading "The Premonition, a Pandemic Story" by Michael Lewis.  It certainly tells the story of how hard researchers work and how stupid the government bureaucratic process is.  Brought back memories of incidents that I encountered when working as a Fed.  Of course,  my work did not impact lives to any extent.  Our Center for Disease Control is sadly crippled.

My cough has returned...ever so slightly.  I have been monitoring it for a week and going back on the proton pump inhibitor (which sounds like a mechanical device, right?).  I will email my specialist who is an hour's drive away and see what is going on and what we do from here.

I finally contracted with a cleaning service this week.  I helped my mother clean her house starting at 10-years-old and except for the 2 years in Indonesia where I had a maid, cook, and night watchman, I have been the cleaner of my various abodes for decades.  I am just tired of vacuuming, mopping, and dusting an almost 3,000 square foot house, and I have let great corners get covered in spider webs and dust.  It is a VERY expensive service and the lady said that I could change my bi-weekly schedule to a monthly schedule down the road if I felt it was overkill with just two old folks living in the house.  I will also have to adjust to having a stranger poke through my nooks and crannies, although they did say they try to send the same person each time.  

My garden is blooming in all its glory just before the oven days start.  I will post photos on my other blog.  

Grandkids arrived for just a few hours on Sunday squeezing in their precious limited free time to visit us!  I am so blest!  Hope your weekend is cool, comfortable, and full of love.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Giant Bunny!

The day is lovely. Waters are calm and weather is actually very cool for mid-June in the mid-Atlantic. I am not a big boating person, but hubby is and so for this week I said we should take the boat out and spend the day on the water. He seemed thrilled. He had only been out a few times weeks ago and on his own. Well, I packed two small coolers with cold chicken, crackers and cheese, fresh fruit and carrot sticks and cold drinks. We made two trips to the dock to bring everything down. Then when Hubby tried to start the boat, the batteries were dead. He has a small solar panel attached to the batteries since we only use the boat about 8 times a year. Well the wires seem to have been loose and now Hubby is down at the dock trying to see if he can get a charge going and then run the boat in place and maybe we can go out tomorrow. I am hoping this calm spring-like weather holds! 

So now photos of the more unique items at the Philadelphia Flower Show for those who asked.
Above can you see the hummingbird on the left?
Above a hammock made of succulents. This one had me intrigued and I was wondering if I could do something similar. Would I have to protect it during the winter?
A ten-foot bunny!! Close-ups below. All of it is made from plants and botanical material.
Thanks for stopping by on this beautiful summer morning!

Friday, June 11, 2021

It Wasn't Bad Karma, Just Bad Luck

This past week we took three days off from our routines and decided to head away to the Philadelphia Flower Show.  I had not gone for almost a decade and decided it would be a nice change to face the crowds as COVID is waning in our area.  They usually have the event inside the Convention Center.  Due to COVID they scheduled it outside in FDR Park and issued timed-entry tickets.

Our entry was for 2:00 PM and since we live three hours away and planned on spending two overnights we thought leaving at 8:30 in the morning would give us plenty of time for checking into the hotel and then "UBERring" out to the park.

I was using our car's Garmin map tool.  I soon discovered this was NOT a good thing because as we left the visitor center off the highway for our mid-trip break after almost 2 hours,  we encountered LOTS of traffic moving slowly and soon coming to a complete stop.  I switched to the WAZE APP on my phone and saw that there were two areas ahead with accidents.  We sat in our car nestled between huge trucks and vans and little hybrids for two and a half hours!  I have a hybrid car, so not a great loss of fuel or increase in pollution. Had I been on WAZE before I might have avoided the mess as WAZE lets you know of highway incidents ahead of the encounter as well as so much other stuff.

We finally exited an area as we crawled forward and went miles east then miles north then doubling back miles west to finally make it to downtown Philadelphia.

We proceeded to check in but our challenges were not over.  We had to keep up deep breathing and calming exercises as the hotel had trouble with our credit card.  We had to change credit cards but finally made it to our room!

The hotel was right downtown near the convention center, but the Flower Show was out of town due to COVID.  I called an UBER.  I waited...and waited.. until finally one showed up and asked us to meet at some point TWO BLOCKS away!  I said no and he canceled.  A second UBER was a little better.  We jumped into the car and told him where we wanted to go and he said he thought the Flower Show had been canceled!  He said he would take us to the entry and low and behold they had been canceled due to the dangerous afternoon weather!

Thus we UBERed back to the hotel and by then we were only an hour or so from dinner so made reservations at one of the many Chinese restaurants in the city.  The next UBUR driver had to drop us off a half block away due to street work.  I used my phone in the steady rain dropping on a blurry screen; we walked past the restaurant TWICE before we asked someone where it was.  The restaurant sign was one of those super modern fonts and very difficult to read unless you were directly in front and looked up!  (I am sure someone has captured the old folks arguing and walking back and forth while staring at their phone screens.)

The dinner was delicious and we actually were able to get an UBER back to the hotel.  I called the Flower Show Service that evening and they said we could come in any time and any day throughout the week before the show closed!  Our pre-paid lunch was also still available.   Things were looking up. 

The next day, at least the weather was somewhat kinder.  We failed to get an UBER again and instead called a CAB that was friendly and efficient and dropped us off exactly at the Flower Show entrance.  The day was hot, 92F, but no rain.  The event was somewhat interesting and a bit crowded because those that had booked the day before came this day.  Maybe I will share photos.  Maybe I have become a bit jaded about these events.

As the day came to an end, I tried once again to get an UBER back to our hotel in the late afternoon.  The UBER pick-up suggestion could not be found by our eyes and when we asked a local they explained that the name given was an OLD name for the corner and the new name was the metro name.  I texted the UBER back and told him we would be at the bus stop on that corner.  We waited and waited.  Then when he arrived we were so busy looking down the street that we did not see him pull in.  FINALLY, we connected!  What a nightmare!  All of our UBER drivers were polite and useful if somewhat less knowledgeable about the city than we were --- see below)

Since it was pouring rain as we reached the hotel we decided to eat dinner in the restaurant connected to the hotel.  Hubby thought it would be a mediocre venue, but it was delicious food.  I like whiskeys and bourbons and they had a huge selection of pre-dinner cocktails.  Only three tables out of at least 20 were filled and so it was also quiet with excellent service.  The other two tables that had customers had middle-aged men in nice suits eating with sexily dressed women who were clearly younger. Their meet-ups were certainly a date as the behavior of the women was very flirtatious.  (OK maybe it wasn't a date, maybe it was something else since one of the women had her dress slit up to her crotch and was wearing only a band of some stretchy fabric around her top.)  I get to cities only rarely these days and I am not going to evaluate a restaurant on its customers, but on its service, food and beverages.  After the trip we had, I was working on being mellow.

We still enjoyed ourselves talking to our waiter who was from Belarus.  He had lived an interesting life and his immigration to the U.S. was also interesting. He had been a protestor against the government and was forced to leave.  So sad. For those of you who, like me, have trouble keeping up, "Belarus is the thirteenth-largest and the twentieth-most populous country in Europe."  Go to this link for a clue how it has changed (‘It’s All Ruined’: Young Woman Caught Up in Belarus Clampdown - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Our trip was somewhat of an international tour as we took time to get to know all the people we encountered.  Note below:

Uber Drivers:
Nigerian,  Baptist preacher
Pakistani man 

Cab Driver:
Mexico. 7th-day Adventist who came via his church

Man from Belarus
Lady from Egypt

We purchased some nice green tea at the Flower Show:
The saleslady was from Taiwan and her husband from France!

The U. S. is becoming so much of a melting pot these days.

I guess my advice is to always stay as mellow as possible unless it is life or death.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Computer Memory

I capture all the gems 

With just a click 
On the box - ‘download’. 
These crystal baubles then 
Order themselves in a line 
With mathematical precision
In some dark place. 
I will probably never 
Stumble upon again,
Hidden in some Delphic language, 
In some password-protected room. 
And their value 
Is only when I, not another, 
Bring them back to light.
But only if I blunder onto them 
Before I, myself, have been placed 
In some dark sectioned place 
Where there is no clicking 
And silence reigns.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Familiar Visitor

It was one of those odd early mornings about 3:30 AM.. yes, early! I woke up to go to the bathroom and then felt too rested to fall back asleep and headed to the living room to read a light silly romance that had been a break from my usual historical or biographical or environmental books.   I was near the end and perhaps could finish before sunrise.

 A light caught my eye through the French doors, and at first, I thought it was some new ugly spotlight from a neighbor's dock across the way.  Some of my neighbors are so fearful and perhaps a bit superstitious since they seem to think the light will chase away anything nefarious from their empty weekend getaways.  Yet, as I focused more carefully,  I  saw the glow was high in the trees and not a light but a soft vanilla moon smiling down at me.  A perfect spring night and sailing slowly across the Western sky with the black silhouette of new green leaves gently dancing in the front at the edges.  It was a celestial prom night, perhaps.

I felt that I had been blessed with such a lovely gift.  It was as if an old friend was smiling at me from a distance reassuring me that everything was in its place 'once again and for a while ' where it was supposed to be, pushing away my usual misgivings.  The shining circle seemed to gently grow as it moved closer to the horizon.  

I would have missed the light show if I had stayed in bed.  

I stepped outside, barefoot and camera in hand, without a tripod and impatient to try to capture the moment.  A bird was singing a single intermittent note as if to call forth the sun.   No mosquitoes, but the very tiny biting flies would soon find my warm breath, so a stolen photo would have to suffice.  The second photo below was on a calmer night with a steadier hand and was much earlier in the month when the moon was just an infant.

Of course, the news told me later that this full moon was the Flower moon and would be eclipsed for those on the West Coast in just a few hours.  But no dance show for me.  My orbed friend was too shy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Keeping Up

For those of my readers who are lucky enough to have healthy and happy children, I wish to caution that keeping up with them gets harder each year. 

I am in my mid-70s and my daughter's family of pre-teens and teenagers is very much into physical activity. My daughter planned a "glamping" trip over the weekend as a Mother's Day event. The trip included sleeping in fancy Teepees that had electricity and indoor plumbing and spending the day doing things like kayak/canoeing, bicycle riding, and rope climbing. I participated in the first two but have outgrown ziplining and tree climbing! (In retrospect I think the trip was to keep the rest of her family happy while pretending it was a Mother's Day event. Also, it was her Mother's Day of course.) We all are vaccinated or in the case of my daughter's family recovered from COVID and they are soon to get their shots.  Most of it was outdoors and masking was only when they were in groups of others.

My son and his wife joined us as well, but even they had trouble keeping up.

Below a montage of memories from the event and wishing those of you who have children, a belated Happy Mother's Day and perhaps, one that was very simple where they just took you out to dinner.